Fifty per cent of students in the SCDSB report that they have been bullied. In a one month period, 67% of our students witnessed another student being bullied. More than 50% of bullying is because of Human Rights Code violations – religion, ethnic background, aboriginal background, sexual orientation, and gender orientation. If these numbers aren’t enough to tell us that something needs to be done, then the well-being of our students is. Bullying has emotional effects on our students – they report feeling sad, angry, scared, embarrassed and frustrated when they are bullied.
So, what can we do? The answer: stand up. Don’t be a bystander – be an upstander! When upstanders intervene, they can stop bullying within 10 seconds. Students can be courageous, tell someone, stop or distract the person doing the bullying, help and support the person being targeted, or refuse to laugh along or watch. All of these actions can help stop and prevent bullying. But it’s not just our students that need to be upstanders – adults can help too. School staff, parents and community members can help by working with those involved to get to the root of the problem, by listening and asking questions and by being supportive, to both the “bullier” and the “bullied.” Together, we all need to send a clear message that bullying is unacceptable.
This week is the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week. What will you do to stand up?
For more information and ideas for related activities, visit the Ministry’s website.